NewsCovering Colorado


Pueblo West board to decide on water rate increases

Posted at 6:12 PM, Nov 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-27 20:30:51-05

PUEBLO WEST – Utility customers in Pueblo West will likely have to pay a little more on their water and sewer bills next year. The Pueblo West Metropolitan Board will decide whether to raise water rates by 2 percent and wastewater rates by 9 percent at their monthly meeting Tuesday night.

The rate increases are part of a funding mechanism established in a 5-year capital plan approved by the board in August of 2017. The money will help the district add water and sewer infrastructure to land it owns in hopes enticing more development.

“Really, you have a huge spot of prime real estate off of Highway 50, just west of the Walmart and south of Big R that currently doesn’t have any water or wastewater infrastructure underneath,” said Jay-Michael Baker, Communications and Engagement Manager for the metro district.

With land that desirable, you’d think a developer could pay for the water and sewer pipes themselves. However, Baker said the real estate market is much too competitive.

“The land is not really marketable unless you have that (infrastructure),” he said. “It’s a very competitive economic development environment nationwide, not just Colorado but we’re the whole nation.”

The Pueblo West community continues to grow. A 36,000 square foot showroom under construction along East Dunlap Drive for the new Strictly Powersports and Indian Motorcycle of Southern Colorado is nearly complete. The owners hope to move in next month. It’s a $4 million real estate development and a sign of the rapid growth in this community.

“It seems like every year there are more housing permits pulled, and you also see more commercial growth as well,” said Jay-Michael Baker, Communications and Engagement Manager for the Pueblo West Metropolitan District.

More than 350 permits for new homes were issued this year, up 80 percent. And the metro district wants to maintain steady growth. The district board is also raising various development fees as part of its 2019 budget.

Pueblo West voters this month rejected a proposed 1 percent sales tax for road maintenance and improvements. There are some 400 lane miles of road in the community and about half are dirt or gravel. It’s just less expensive to maintain. Costing about $50,000 per mile versus a $1 million per mile for new asphalt.

A five-year capital plan calls for water and wastewater rate increases in 2019, 2020 and 2021 for the Pueblo West Metropolitan District.